Know My Number
The first step in understanding high blood pressure is learning what your numbers mean. Blood pressure is measured with two numbers: systolic (the higher number) and diastolic (the lower number) (e.g., 120/80 mmHg):
- Systolic pressure occurs when your heart contracts.
- Diastolic pressure occurs when your heart relaxes and fills with blood.
- Blood pressure is measured using millimetres of mercury (mmHg), which is a standardized measurement of pressure.
The higher your systolic or diastolic blood pressure – and the longer it stays high – the greater the potential damage to your blood vessels.
Your blood pressure should be less than 140/90 mmHg.
|Low Risk||Moderate Risk||Elevated Risk|
|Less than 120/80 mmHg||121/80 to 139/89 mmHg||More than 140/90 mmHg|
If you have diabetes, you are more likely to have high blood pressure. It should be less than 130/80 mmHg.